GLOBAL SANGHA NEWSLETTER 127
All times in this Newsletter are Rome time zone
A NEW COURSE OF NAIKAN PRACTICE
Kimiko Nita: In this course, we actually experience “Naikan”, a Japanese method of looking into oneself. The first time will be an introduction of “Naikan” method for those who are not familiar with it. After that, from the second session, we will actually experience “Naikan” practice together. In each meeting, you first decide when and to whom you want to reflect yourself. For example, reflect yourself in relation with your mother during the age 10 to 12, and so on. Then reflect yourself being alone, blocking out external stimuli for about 15 minutes. After self-reflection, we get together and announce to each other what we had just reflected and noticed. The repetition of this practice will lead you to a new awareness.
Date and Time: Every other Thursday from Oct.27th
Nov 10, Nov 24, skipping Dec 8 because of another seminar, Dec 22
(The date for next year will be announced in due course)
Zoom link: https://bit.ly/3r1gVFj
-:- ID: 889 9207 0497 -:- Passcode : 999175
BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY DIPLOMA
NEW INTAKE: Applications are now coming in for February 2023
A googlegroup has been set up for new registrants for the 2023 entry so the group is already beginning to form. If you intend to study, do enrol soon. New registrants will start to get study materials in February, but, once enrolled, they can already join existing students at on-line seminars as soon as they get their ticket. To book
Photo by Helen Enenfé
15 October 2022 18:00
A DIALOGUE ON BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY
Dr. David Brazier & Dr. Yaya De Andrade
David and Yaya will talk about their personal journeys with Buddhist psychology and about their current teaching programme. What does it mean, to study Buddhist psychology? How does Buddhist psychology affect the way that one encounters others, how one helps, befriends, does psychotherapy, or lives one's day to day life? It could be said that Buddhist practice aims to take one to enlightenment while Buddhist psychology explains all the so human reasons why few of us get there. Buddhists have been studying the human mind for two and a half millennia and the fruits of these studies are certainly worth savouring. Yaya and David will share personal experience and ideas and respond to questions from the floor.
The dialogue is at 18:00. There is 30 minutes meditation starting at 17:30 optional.
Sponsored by the Heartland Sangha https://www.heartlandzen.org
22-23rd October 2022
"ENCOUNTER & PATH"
OCTOBER BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY WEEKEND
Therapy as a Spiritual Path for Client & for Therapist. A presentation of the application of Buddhist psychology in a number of dimensions; a forum in which to reflect upon the spiritual path from a psychological point of view and the psychological work from a spiritual perspective.
talks, seminars, master class demonstration, groupwork, "Dharma à Deux", case
presentation and discussion. Theoretical material will be presented and there will also be experiential workshops so participants should be willing to
share material about personal life and agree to respect the
confidentiality of others.
Suitable for: The weekend is open to anybody interested both in understanding their own life and relationships better and in the therapeutic process and how this relates to the spiritual path in a Buddhist approach.
Students enrolled on the BP Diploma programme will be invited free of charge.
8-11th December 2022
"HEALING THE HEART"
SHAKYAMUNI ENLIGHTENMENT RETREAT
On 8th December we celebrate the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha. On the three days following we shall have periods of practice and presentations of applications of Dharma faith and practice. The theme of "Healing the Heart" invites us to consider both the transformation of the practitioner on the bodhisattva path and also the need for healing of our world and our planet.
DHARMA THERAPY -:- THERAPY DHARMA
The Dharma is the teaching of Buddha, both in the sense of the doctrines he pronounced and in the example of his life, and even, beyond that, the liberating spirit of wisdom and compassion that is the real definition of Buddhahood. Therapy is the psychological and spiritual accompaniment of a person through a period of travail - the healing of distress by psychological means.
What is the relationship between these two? Are they, in fact, two? Or are they two manifestations of a single entity? Etymologically, the two words are connected. the DHaR of Dharma and the THeR of therapy are from a single root. They both refer to holding and healing. It is the Dharma that holds and heals us and that is therapy.
The Buddhist teachings heal the heart. The Dharma has been transmitted from heart to heart, generally by verbal encounter. When we read the stories of the Buddhist masters and their disciples down the ages, it is quite rare to find somebody enlightened while alone in meditation. Almost invariably people are awakened in the course of an encounter with a teacher, and an interpersonal encounter that changes a life in a wholesome way is, surely, a therapy.
Dharma is the way of the East and therapy is a way of the West, but, perhaps, they are just two sides of a single coin. Certainly, the experience of doing the Buddhist psychology programme suggests that following the psychological exercises in the programme is a fine way to enter into the Dharma path.
Yet, the East-West divide, too, may be less than we think. The term therapy derives from the communities in Egypt from about 200BCE onwards called Therapeutae. These people were almost certainly at least influenced by Buddhism and the missionary efforts of King Ashoka and may, in fact, have actually been Buddhists. Egypt, and especially Alexandria, was, at that time, the hub of the intellectual world and the Ptolemaic pharaohs had the ambition to bring to Alexandria all the wisdom of all the world.
The Therapeutae merged Jewish and Buddhist wisdom and this may also be one of the sources of what became Christianity. In any case, the divergence of Dharma and therapy may simply be an artefact of how culture has evolved in different countries. Many people nowadays see them as different, even conflicting, approaches, but I find a basic harmony. Deep listening is a healing art for East and West and Buddha was the master.
Through our Dharma practice we hope to bring peace of heart and liberation to all beings. This is the greatest therapy.
by Iris Dotan Katz
We may distinguish two important types of listening. There is listening to the Dharma, which transforms one’s life. There is listening to others, which can be healing and restorative.
You will have noticed that statues of Shakyamuni generally show that he had big ears. This symbolises what a good listener he was. Many people came to talk with him and he listened to them and discerned what was going on in their lives, each individually. Then he would engage in a conversation appropriate to the individual case. People are various. The spiritual problems they face may all be related to the basic existential facts of impermanence, mortality, conditionality and so on, but in each life they take a unique form. Buddha was remarkable in his ability to discern the need of each person.
This does not mean that he solved every problem - though evidently he solved many - but it means that there was a heart to heart connection. People softened in his presence. This enabled him to plant a seed that would grow later. More on this below. Suffice to say that listening, in a spirit of genuine desire to understand and empathise, is a wonderfully healing practice. It is something that we can all become better at, and, as we do so, we contribute to bringing peace and harmony into the world.
The Buddhist teaching is called Dharma. The Dharma has come down to us through many generations. At the simplest level, this means that it has been transmitted verbally. The Buddha spoke the Dharma to Ananda and to his other disciples and they told it to their disciples and so on down the ages. Thus, the Dharma is something heard.
Because he was a good listener, the Buddha was able to teach the Dharma in ways that were appropriate to the person he was talking to at the time. Thus there are many Dharma teachings. It is sometimes said that there are 84,000 Dharma teachings in order to cater for the 84,000 types of people.
Nonetheless, every single Dharma teaching contains the pure spirit of the Dharma. The same spirit is present in every teaching. So the better we become at listening, the more we shall discern the true Dharma within the teaching, whichever of the 84,000 teachings it is.
Listening and hearing come in varying degrees of quality. It is important how we listen. This means, to give full attention, but even more than that, it means to sense the deep meaning, not just the literal significance of the words. One picks up the spirit of what one is being told, not just words and letters. Again, there are two aspects. There is what the utterance reveals about the speaker and there is the universal truth that is conveyed.
Initially one might not grasp the deep meaning, but still one receives something. Receiving is important. Receiving heals.
Perhaps one hears a teaching and initially it is just strange words. There is, nonetheless, a value in learning by rote, even before one has grasped the deeper meaning, because then one carries the words around with one. They are in the mind. This is part of the original meaning of the term mindfulness - that the mind becomes full of Dharma. One then contemplates what one has heard and gradually or suddenly the deeper meaning dawns. When it dawns, one is then imbued with the spirit of the Dharma.
It is a bit as though the Buddha plants seeds. Just taking in the words is like having the seed planted in one’s mind, but then, with contemplation, the seed germinates and begins to grow. We say that the Dharma is like a lotus flower. The lotus is the most beautiful flower. It grows in ponds. The seed is in the mud at the bottom of the pond. It germinates in the dark muddy place. Then it grows up toward the light and eventually blooms above the surface in the sunshine.
The Dharma is like that. The words of Buddha are seeds. They are planted in the muddy darkness of our worldly lives. There they germinate and start to grow and they grow toward the light of Buddha, which is the spiritual sunshine of our lives. Eventually the Dharma lotus opens and blooms and pleases many people and makes new seeds.
It is worth noticing that if there is no mud, the lotus does not germinate. It is only in the dark part of one’s life that a lotus can grow. It is of the essence of this system of spirituality to notice one’s own unenlightened nature in contrast to that of Buddha. To practise Buddhism one must make examination of one’s own life in an honest way and see that there is shadow as well as light. If one can only recognise one’s own virtues and cleverness and not see the shadow side, there will be nowhere for the lotus of the Dharma to germinate. One may be able to listen superficially and pick up a lot of facts and theories about Buddhism, but it will not be Dharma. The deep meaning will not be experienced.
On the other hand, if one has an attitude of humility and one is conscious of the mud at the bottom of one’s pool, even teachings that one does not fully understand may still do a lot of good. They may germinate and, eventually, they may bloom. In other words, one day the full significance will become clear, or, even without one’s conscious awareness of clarity, it will work in one’s life in a wholesome way.
It is important to recognise this principle: the Dharma can work in one’s life without one being aware of it happening. One’s friends may notice that one has changed for the better even though one has not noticed it oneself. Dharma is not all about conscious awareness and personal control. When one takes refuge and has faith in the Dharma, it works in mysterious ways. One can trust this process. If you are among people who live wise, kind lives, it rubs off. One picks it up through the skin. If one hears many Dharma teachings, even if one thinks nothing is happening, there is influence.
So make every effort to become a good listener like the Buddha and like his disciple Ananda. Become a good listener, hear many teachings, and then trust the process. Ananda knew all the teachings and when asked about them he would begin each explanation by the phrase, “Thus have I heard.…” So this has become the standard opening phrase of all Buddhist sutras.
David: This week I am at the Buddhist Teachers in Europe meeting. This year it is at the Fo guan Shan temple near Paris. It is an impressive temple, evidently well run, and I have great respect for the half dozen nuns who keep it going. There is an ethos here of simple goodness, faith and service. Even though they are always busy, they are unfailingly willing to help and serve others in any way possible. I have joined in some of the chanting ceremonies, which feel quite in keeping with the spirit of Dharma as I understand it. So in a few days I have developed some affection for the place.
The BTE meeting has been skilfully guided by Susthama and Tineke. We have had plenty of time to get to know each other and to air important issues. Differences of practice, of understanding and of opinion have come to the surface and have enriched rather than spoiling the meeting. I think everybody feels pretty happy with the time we have spent together. I enjoyed meeting old friends and making some new ones.
All times are Rome time zone
Every day 06:30-06:50
- Geeta Charihttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/84702079106?pwd=bGxZbGF4c2hTU2xUbTdNWjZoRFNMUT09
Thursday 14:30, 8th September & every two weeksIBAP Group / BP Diploma Tutors Meeting *
Thursday 19:00-20:30, 25th August & every two weeksITZI Supervision Group **- Iris Dotan Katz
For presentation, review and discussion of counselling/psychotherapy casework from a Buddhist psychology perspective.
Thursdays 16:30 from 5th OctoberReadings from the Commentary on Summary of Faith & PracticeNew code
Meeting ID: 871 8967 0352 -:- Passcode: 732590
Fridays 19:30 Amitabha Service For the West
- Vajrapala & Angela Romani
Meeting ID: 894 8069 9209 -:- Passcode: 137836
Saturday 10:00 & 20:00, 1st October, 12th November, 3rd DecemberBuddhist Psychology Seminars *
For students on BP course
Saturdays 14:00Refuge Group Puja
A group for those who have taken refuge**.
Puja, Dharma Talk, Sharing, Discussion, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83365263186?pwd=cURmOW5FNGJvdTd2SG1qVWtPSDJrZz09
Meeting ID: 833 6526 3186 -:- Passcode: 353386
Saturday 8th OctoberUpavastha: Full Moon Practice Renewal
Programme of puja, readings, meditation, & chanting until eveninghttps://bit.ly/3OhYJ3r
-:- Meeting ID: 833 6526 3186 -:- Passcode: 353386Sabado 16:30
Encuentro de la Sangha en español y servicio.
Guiado por Ganendra.
Por zoom. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81138990223?pwd=dmNZU3VmRTRhUjBobVdnMjhuV3NYUT09
Para asistir, escribir por whatsapp a +34 620265962.
Sundays 10:30Global Sangha Interest Group
- Liz Allmarkhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/88974912642?pwd=N2VyQnc0MUM4WUU0YTFTdCt0QWVmQT09
Meeting ID: 889 7491 2642 -:- Passcode: 537296
Sundays 20:00 GS Friendship Group
An informal meeting for allhttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/87394084532?pwd=eEY3eUhHcjN0b0xLanZXcTNqVmVzdz09
Meeting ID: 873 9408 4532 -:- Passcode: 519784
Weekend 22-23 October"Encounter & Path"
A weekend of Buddhist Psychology
David Brazier, Iris Dotan Katz, Kimiko Nita, Yaya de Andrade & Natividad Menendez
* Codes separately notified
** Details from Jisshas <firstname.lastname@example.org